Mumbai: Without uttering a wordonthetreatmentmeted outtohim by Bangladesh selectors in the runuptothe World Cup, senior batterMahmudullahsaid while there’slotstosay,itisnottherighttimetobe speaking his mind in the middleofthe tournament.
Mahmudullah’s batting has been oneofvery few positives for Bangladesh in the tournament as they find themselves at the bottomofthe points table after four losses.
Batting at number six, he hit a valiant 111 — his fourth ODI century and first in the last six years — even as the Shakib Al Hasan-led side slumpedtoa 149-run defeattoSouth AfricaonTuesday.
Itwas believed that Bangladesh selectors were movingonfrom the 37-year-old in months leadingtothe World Cup.Butunderwhelming performances from the other batters, especially the young brigade, forced themtocall him back after six months in the wilderness.
During the periodMahmudullahwas away from the team, Bangladesh selectors maintained the stance that he was rested.
“Itwas a good time.Ican’t say anything regarding that time.Idowanttotalkaboutalotofthingsbutthis isnottherighttimetotalkabout,”Mahmudullahtold the media after the matchonTuesday.
“AllIcan say is thatIwantedtocontributetothe team.Iwould have likedtocontribute more so that we won the game. Probably Allah has given me the strengthtokeepgoing.Itriedtokeepmy fitness in shape.Ikept working hard. That is allIcando,” he added.
Chasing a massive targetof383, Bangladesh were reducedto81 for six at one stage asMahmudullahtried delaying the inevitable with the tailend batterstotake them as far as 233 in 46.4 overs.
The veteran batter was specific in dedicating his century — only the fourth in his 225-match ODI career –tothose who supported him in the “last three months”.
“Iwould liketodedicateittomy family and those people who supported and prayed for me in the last three months.Iwanttothank those among you who supported me, and those who didn’t support me.”
The 37-year-old said he was told by the coach Chandika Hathurusingha that he would bat as low as at No. 6 despite the fact that Bangladesh needed his experience and presence in the middle-order.
“Itriedtocontributetothe team’s cause.Ihave seen alotofupsand downs throughout my career. (Batting down the order) is fine. Yesterday (Monday), coach told me thatIwas batting at No 6.Iwent out there and played my game.”
Mahmudullahsaid Bangladesh couldnotbat aggressively against South Africa as they lost too many wickets at the top.
“Nobody likestolose.Itwas obviously disappointing.Ithink there was movement earlyon,butitwas a good wicket overall. We lost early wickets. We didnotrecover.”
Mahmudullahsaid Bangladesh arenotabletocreate momentum for themselves after hurtling from one losstoanother.
“Ithink we arenotgetting that momentum. Whether batting or bowling, you havetocreate an opportunitytowin the game. We haven’t got there. The bowlers made the job easy for us against Afghanistan. We havenotcreated those opportunities in the other games. We are discussing,doingmeetings,butwe havenotbeen abletoexecuteit.
With Bangladesh plummetingtothe last spot in the points table,Mahmudullahconceded that their hopesofmakingittothe semifinals are over.
“There’s no point thinkingaboutoutcomes now, whether we can reach semifinals ornot. We get a win in the next game, we get some momentum for the next match,” he said.
(Published 25 October 2023, 08:06 IST)